Organ Pipe – Red Tank

(nr Lukeville AZ)
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was established to protect the named cactus and the habitat of the central Sonoran Desert. It covers an area from the Mexican border northward about 30 miles almost to Why AZ. On the west was the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and on the east was the Tohono O’odham Nation which made for lots of open space.

Organ pipe, ocotillo and saguaro cacti

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

The Visitor Center had informative displays, a giftshop, a picnic ramada, restrooms, and helpful volunteers. A short film explained the unique features of that part of the desert. Afterward, there was a talk out on the patio about the importance of the ironwood tree in the desert.

Organ Pipe cactus and bushes

Visitor Center Trail

Cactus and mountain

Pinkley Peak

A paved trail behind the Visitor Center meandered through various desert plants, with a view of the distant Ajo Range, and ended at the parking lot. There were very good samples of cacti and other desert plants typical of the area. I had lunch in Tardis while studying the handouts and deciding where I would explore on the west side.

Rod rock depression

Red Tank Tinaja

Red rock tinaja

Water pool in bottom of tank

North Puerto Blanco Drive headed west from the visitor center into the Puerto Blanco Mountains, and was alternately paved or gravel. The Red Tank Tinaja trail was about four miles in, and seemed like a reasonable choice. A two mile round-trip and easy hike took me past a view of Pinkley Peak to the water hole. There was still a small pool of water captured in the tank surrounded by red rock.

Mountain beyond desert cacti

Tillotson Peak

Shortly beyond the Red Tank trailhead, the road became one-way, narrower, for high clearance vehicles, and a very long way to pavement. So, I returned the way I came in. Since, I got a late start to the day, I headed back to camp. On my way, I pulled into the overlook for 3,225ft Tillotson Peak in the Ajo Range.

RV, trees, mountain

Tardis at Gunsight Wash camp

My camp was just outside of Why at Gunsight Wash BLM with several other RVers; but, all were nicely spaced apart. The site was well off the highway by the wash and a large ironwood tree. The weather was nice, it had a good internet signal, and of course it was free.

Camp: Gunsight Wash BLM boondock
Scene: Mountains, desert, cacti, tinaja

Also see: Organ Pipe-Alamo Canyon

8 Responses to Organ Pipe – Red Tank

  1. Ted February 28, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

    Nice campsite! Lots of green going on. One of these days I’ll visit Organ Pipe and experience it firsthand.

    • Pleinguy February 28, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

      I was really surprised at how much green there was. There were many roads to explore that I didn’t want to take Tardis. Next time I’ll need to have alternate means.

  2. Bradford Harris February 28, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

    Ah, my favorite place! I love the Saguaro cacti. I’ve only been there three times but it would be a dream come true to camp in that area. Thanks for bringing these beautiful pictures to us. (It was minus 23.8 in Iowa this morning) — VT

    • Pleinguy February 28, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

      It was very nice there, and I only got to see a small portion of it. I will certainly need to return again for more adventures.

  3. Barbara March 1, 2015 at 10:40 am #


    I’ve been following your blog for awhile now (maybe 6 months) and I figured it was high time I let you know I was out here

    I have enjoyed your blog posts, the pictures and your tidbits about places you have gone to, etc. Thank you for all that you share!!


    • Pleinguy March 1, 2015 at 10:49 am #

      Thanks for letting me know Barbara. I appreciate the kind comments, and hope you continue to follow the journey.

      • Barbara March 1, 2015 at 11:09 am #

        Your Welcome (that was a quick reply!). I read that it took you almost 2 years to find Tardis. We’ve discovered that finding a LD will require long distance travel to get one which is difficult to arrange quickly because first you want to be as sure as you can that it is in good shape and what you want. And try to do that somewhat quickly before it sells out from under you!!
        Did you discover that as well?

        • Pleinguy March 2, 2015 at 10:55 am #

          Absolutely! You must be quick, and hopefully the seller will hold it for your arrival. I traveled from Jacksonville FL to Tucson AZ to purchase Tardis. Sure glad I was patient because it is the perfect RV for me.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes